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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

February 28, 2013

In This Issue:


    • US Supreme Court to decide the Future of the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
    • New and Improved High School Voter Registration Training Manual
    • Women and the Rule of Law:  A View from the Americas


  • League Membership Grew in 2012 (NEW)
  • Honor Your 50 Year Members at Your Annual Meeting (NEW)
  • March is Women’s History Month: Celebrate with League (NEW)


  • Make an Impact on Climate Change with the Updated Climate Action Toolkit (NEW)
  • The Campaign Finance Task Force Requests Your Help  


  • Suffrage Centennial Celebration (NEW)

  • Support the Membership and Leadership Development Program


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Dear Friend,

The lawyer’s lounge in the Supreme Court building is a soothing shade of green with high ceilings, large windows and portraits of obscure associate justices from centuries past staring down from the walls. As a general rule, members of the Supreme Court bar who can’t find a seat in the actual courtroom can listen to oral arguments from the comfort of a sofa or armchair ranged along the walls of the lounge. Yesterday, listening to the oral arguments in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, it was standing room only. 

By eight o’clock in the morning, I was already too late to secure a place in the courtroom, but I did get a seat in the lounge. While it was often difficult to distinguish which justice was speaking, it was a treat to watch the reaction of the lawyers in the room, many of whom, obviously, had some stake in the outcome of this case. When Justice Scalia made his now famous comment that the Voting Rights Act is a perpetuation of racial entitlement, the lawyers lounge momentarily erupted in disapproval.

To read more about my takeaways from the arguments, please read my full blog post.

In League,
Description: Elisabeth


Education Fund


US Supreme Court to decide the Future of the Voting Rights Act (NEW)
On Wednesday February 27th the US Supreme Court heard arguments in Shelby County V Holder. The case focused on the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) – the VRA’s main enforcement mechanism. We are proud to have signed on to an amicus brief to signify our support for Section 5 and to ask the Supreme Court to uphold the lower court’s ruling. We are joined in this effort by the League of Women Voters of South Carolina, which has signed on to a state brief that addresses how Section 5 helped implement and clear a Voter ID law in South Carolina.

Members of the League attended a rally held at the Supreme Court in support of the VRA.  LWV President Elisabeth MacNamara and LWV SC President, Barbara Zia addressed the rally shortly after the hearing on the steps of the US Supreme Court. Photographs of the rally can be viewed on the LWV Facebook page.

For additional information about the hearing see the LWV statement, pledge to support the VRA and this Huffington Post Article written by Elisabeth MacNamara.

New and Improved High School Voter Registration Training Manual
LWVEF updated its popular Empowering the Voters of Tomorrow training manual for 2013! This publication, available for free download on the League’s website, features a step-by-step guide for conducting effective high school voter registration drives. The manual is also chock-full of customizable, field-tested, planning checklists, template media statements, talking points, activity ideas and other materials to help you stay on track and get the most out of any registration events. Thanks to the many Leagues and other partners who provided feedback. Let’s get to work registering new voters this spring!

fair Judiciary and Global Democracy

Women and the Rule of Law: A View from the Americas (NEW)
The League of Women Voters and its partners, the Inter-American Dialogue and the International Association of Women Judges, held a standing room only two-day conference – Women and the Rule of Law:  A View from the Americas - highlighting the important role women judges play in promoting and advancing the rights of women in the Americas.  The group met with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the afternoon of February 26th – the day prior to the Court’s historic hearings on the Voting Rights Act.


Membership and Leadership

League Membership Grew in 2012 (NEW)
Because of your great work, the League’s membership grew last year, reversing the trend of the past several years.  Leagues seized the many opportunities associated with the 2012 election to serve democracy and increase our visibility by engaging with our communities and intentionally asking individuals to join (all best practices of the Membership & Leadership Development Program).  Cheers on a great year!

Honor Your 50 Year Members at Your Annual Meeting (NEW)
Your annual meeting is a great time to pay tribute to your League’s dedicated 50 year members.  For a certificate to present to your 50 year members contact Betty Taira at membership@lwv.org; include the names of the members, your League information, and the date by which you need the certificates. Please request certificates at least two weeks in advance of your meeting. Check out LWVUS’ tips for a successful annual meeting.

March is Women’s History Month: Celebrate with League (NEW)
Women’s History Month is a great time for the League of Women Voters to celebrate its heritage and remind the public that we are here and making a difference! There are a variety of ways to celebrate Women’s History Month.  You can partner with a local library and provide historical information about the League or honor local female community leaders. Remember to connect with your community through your event by inviting the public-at-large to attend and to join the League!




Make an Impact on Climate Change with the Updated Climate Action Toolkit (NEW)
The LWVUS Climate Change Task Force encourages League members to consider adopting a Climate Initiative as part of their local program at their annual meetings this year.  There are two issue areas in particular where Leagues can make a real impact on greenhouse gas emissions -- energy efficiency in buildings and renewable energy. The Grassroots Action Priorities section of the LWVUS Climate Action Toolkit includes detailed information about climate solutions. To share your League's story, please send your answers to these questions to Task Force Chair, Eleanor Revelle (er@revelle.net).  

The Campaign Finance Task Force Requests Your Help
The Campaign Finance Task Force is developing a “Money in Politics Discussion Guide” for Leagues across the country.  We are interested in any outlines and materials you used within your League for this purpose so that we can share what you have done with others.  Please send outlines and materials to Advocacy Committee Chair, Toni Larson toni.larson@gmail.com.



Suffrage Centennial Celebration (NEW)
Join fellow Leaguers and be part of the 50th Anniversary of the historic Women’s Suffrage March on Sunday, March 3rd in Washington, DC. Leaguers are meeting at 8:30 AM at the Peace Circle located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Frist Street NW. Many other women’s groups are also marching. Susan Trice from the Arlington, VA. League will be our point person. Her contact information is csusantrice@gmail.com. To learn more about the Women’s History events taking place this weekend go to www.nwhm.org or www.suffrage-centennial.org.

Support the Membership and Leadership Development Program
“I wouldn’t trade my League experience for anything!”  It’s always the right time to reflect on the personal gifts the League has given to you and consider making a gift to the Fund for Local League Growth (FLLG). As this quote reminds us, League is an experience like no other! The FLLG is a special fund solely designated to build the League’s infrastructure and support the Membership and Leadership Development program. The Membership and Leadership Development program is helping to ensure that the League’s future is vibrant, healthy and strong. Thank you in advance for your support!

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